Over 60? How to Use Smartphone Apps to Lose Weight and Track Fitness
If you’re one of the 42% of individuals over age 60 with a smartphone, you have the opportunity to use your phone as a weight loss and fitness assistant. There are so many weight loss and fitness apps available, but it can be hard to know what’s worth the time and effort.
We’ve done a ton of research and have identified 21 awesome apps that range from counting your calories to tracking your weight via your bathroom scale.
If you haven’t already, we recommend first reading Losing Weight After 60 Is Hard – Here Are 9 Ways to Drop the Pounds. It will help you understand why it’s more difficult to lose weight after age 60 (you’re not crazy!) along with some additional tips to consider before diving into the smartphone apps you can use to help you.
We’ve split up our fitness and weight loss app recommendations into 5 categories:
→ Did you know you can get access to free gym memberships once you turn 65? Keep your health in tip-top shape with the help of your Medicare Advantage plan. Find out which plans in your zip code come with free gym membership privileges.
Your nutrition is the most important part of your weight loss journey. What you eat will have a much bigger impact on your weight and overall body composition than any other fitness component.
It can be hard to track what you’re eating, but a little help from your smartphone can make that easy as pie. (But don't eat the pie.)
The world’s most popular health and fitness app is MyFitnessPal – and it’s free. So that’s a major bonus.
MyFitnessPal is a food diary that helps you track your calories and other food-related goals. It has over 6 million foods in the database, so it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll eat something that you can’t find in there. From something as simple as an egg to something as complex as a full meal from a niche restaurant, MyFitnessPal seriously seems to have everything.
You can scan barcodes, save your favorite meals, and use Quick Tools for simple and quick food tracking. If you don’t want to pay for a nutrition system like Weight Watchers, do it the free way by just taking a few minutes out of your day to log what you’re eating.
Denny Hemingson, a 62-year-old Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner explains that when trying to lose weight, he often recommends cutting back on carbs.
It can be hard to figure out what that actually looks like as you’re preparing meals, and that’s where an app like Cronometer can help.
“For people who want to estimate their basal metabolic rate, select a ratio of macronutrients, and keep a log of their meals, this free app is very useful,” he says.
Just plug in your personal data, and the app will help you make the right choices to stay on track.
This one is only available on the Apple App Store, so if you’re an Android user… we’re sorry!
EatSlowly is a very simple and free app that helps you – drum roll, please – eat slowly. Science tells us that it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to acknowledge that the food we ate has caused us to feel full. If you’re eating too fast, you’re not getting that signal, and boom! You’ve eaten more than you meant to.
This training tool helps you slow down, enjoy the food, and potentially trim down as a result.
Hemingson also recommends this app, and he has a few tips to help you: “Try taking a deep breath between bites, set your fork down after each bite, and chew at least 20 times before swallowing.”
Exercise and Fitness Apps
Your fitness routine is the second most important part of a healthy lifestyle. There are lots of smartphone apps that can assist you by tracking your fitness, providing fitness plans and ideas, and even customized fitness programs.
Let’s take a look at a few fitness apps that are great for individuals over 60.
Fitbit is marketed as “The fitness app for everyone,” and we couldn’t agree more. To start, you need to purchase a Fitbit wristband, which looks like a watch.
From there, you download the app, pair your wristband to the app, and you start gathering information about your fitness. It’s pretty amazing.
For starters, the Fitbit tracks your steps. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. If you do a few calculations, that’s about 10,000 steps per day. To help you reach that goal, Fitbit starts everyone off with a 10,000 step goal.
Your wristband will send you little reminders throughout the day if you want, and when you hit 10,000 steps, it vibrates and sends a happy note across your Fitbit screen.
The app does a lot more than track your steps, though. You can track your sleep, view calories burned, and track your trends over time. You can also track your pace, time, and distance when you go on walks or runs.
If you have friends or family who have Fitbits, you can challenge each other to walk more by setting up an actual challenge in the Fitbit app.
There’s more – you can also track your weight and nutrition in the app. Fitbit has its own smart scale that connects, but we’ll touch on smart scales in more detail later on.
Fitbit has a lot of parts that can be found in other smartphone apps, but the way it makes fitness a part of your everyday life is truly unique.
C25K, or Couch to 5k, has helped millions of first-time runners build up the stamina for a 5k.
The 8-week plan consists of 3 workouts per week. You alternate between walking and running until you build up your strength.
This app is perfect for those who haven’t done a workout in a while (hence its name). Plus, it doesn’t matter how old you are! Many individuals over 60 have enjoyed and succeeded by using the assistance of this app.
The C25K app also boasts an audio coach that tells you when it’s time to walk or run. The “Zen Power Playlist” included in the app claims to have music that is scientifically proven to increase motivation by 35%.
One user even reported losing nearly 100 pounds, getting off of insulin, and dropping 9 medications. If you’ve been wanting to get in shape, this is a great place to begin.
Map My Run
If you’re not wanting to do a specific program like the one outlined in C25K, you might find Map My Run to be useful.
Hemingson explains that the app tracks your distance, speed, and time while you go for a run. It also suggests routes that other users have taken.
The app also claims to be the world’s largest digital health and fitness community. This can help you gather motivation from other runners. Plus, you can create challenges for yourself and your friends.
“By the way, you don't have to run – you can use it for walking, too!” he says.
7 Minute Workout
The 7 Minute Workout app, created by Johnson & Johnson, is a fast and easy way to get a workout in.
The app is backed by science and has helped people all over the world get the most out of their short workout.
There are 72 exercises and 22 additional workouts that you can customize and modify to create more than 1,000 workout variations.
It feels like you have a personal trainer as you watch how to do each movement on your screen. There’s also a timer that shows you how far along you are. The app also features Smart Workout, which gauges your fitness and motivation level and recommends different workout programs along with intensity increases.
Age is no barrier – we all have 7 minutes to devote to our health!
If you want more hands-on, personalized help, Hemingson suggests ProCoach, which is designed by Precision Nutrition.
This is a one-year program that includes daily lessons, no dogma nutrition, habit building, and a phased workout program. The workout program can be designed for any level of fitness and is customized to the individual's needs, limitations, and goals.
You also get personalized coaching from a trainer. Here’s how it works: You record your technique, send the video to your trainer, view a personalized video response, and use that feedback to improve.
Hemingson is a trainer on ProCoach if you’d like for him to be your trainer. Denny explains on his ProCoach page, “I help middle-aged men and women discover and overcome the root causes of weight gain and health challenges and guide them in achieving their best health, wellness, and fitness.”
Yoga, Meditation, and Mindfulness Apps
This category of apps are all about reducing your stress, which in turn helps you lose weight. Hemingson says that stress is the enemy of weight loss, so while these apps may not seem like they help you lose weight, they are the workhorses that do all the behind the scenes work.
Yoga is a great form of exercise that is adaptable to any fitness level. Simply Yoga is a free app (with paid upgrades) that will take you through a yoga workout of your selected level and duration.
You can choose 20, 40, or 60-minute workouts, and the app says it’s great for both men and women. The video on the screen will show you how to get into each pose, and there are audio instructions that will help you along.
One reviewer over age 60 says:
“I have old fractured vertebra and nerve injuries and always thought yoga would help. [...] Love this app because once you get the routine down you don’t need to look at the screen and can just concentrate on the yoga itself. [...] I’ve been doing it 6x/week for about 2 weeks and can already see a difference in my physical ability to do certain things. My core strength has improved which lessens the pain in my back.”
Stress is the enemy of weight-loss and health.
Hemingson explains that there are several great meditation apps that can help with stress reduction. He suggests trying a few and using the ones that resonate with you.
Headspace has a free Basics pack, which is a 10-day course for beginners. It guides you through the essentials of meditation and mindfulness, which helps you build a solid foundation if you want to continue.
Calm focuses on meditation to help you sleep. Their website explains that the life-changing skill of meditation can help you get more restful sleep, leaving you refreshed in the morning. I think we all can use a little more of that!
Breethe claims to be the easiest way to meditate. It offers yoga sessions that help you wake up with intention, balance your breath, and feel happier.
Finally, Simple Habit says it's the best meditation app for busy people. It offers 5-minute meditations that help you reduce stress, improve focus, sleep better, relax faster, and breathe easier.
While the idea of meditation can feel a little “out there,” there are thousands of people over 60 who swear by it and say that it has changed their lives for the better. It just might be worth a shot!
Wim Hof Method
The Wim Hof Method is a free app that takes you through the basics of the method created by The Ice Man, Wim Hof. It covers his breathing method, exercise, and cold adaptation.
The WHM is backed by scientific studies and has been shown to improve the autonomic nervous system and immune system, which in turn reduces stress and creates more resilience.
Hemingson says he personally uses this app and many of his clients enjoy it as well.
Overall Health Apps
Finally, there are some apps that don’t focus on just one piece of the wellness equation. These apps cover the big picture of your overall health.
Apple Health and Google Fit
Depending on whether you have an iPhone or an Android, Apple Health and Google Fit are great ways to track your overall health.
Apple Health does the following:
- Tracks your steps and distance traveled
- Helps you establish a target bedtime and wake time
- Encourages you to be mindful
- Tracks your nutrition (such as carbs, calories, caffeine, etc.)
- Tracks body measurements, reproductive health, results, and vitals
- Gives you the option to create an emergency Medical ID card that allows first responders to access your critical medical information from your lock screen (even without a passcode)
- Allows you to sign up to be an organ donor
- Saves your health records to make it easier to share with new doctors or family members
You can also connect third-party apps to Apple Health. For example, if you have a Fitbit and you track your steps, you can add that information to the health app. If you track your calories with MyFitnessPal, you can add that as well. This makes it easy to get a good overview of your overall health in one easy place.
Google Fit is similar, but it’s available for Android users. Here’s a snapshot of what it offers:
- Tracks steps, time, distance, and calories to measure your fitness goals
- Automatically detects any exercise you do and gives you credit for it
- Makes it easy to monitor your progress with reports
Just like Apple Health, you can also connect your favorite third-party apps so that you have a completely integrated health system.
Apple Health comes installed on your iPhone automatically, so no download is necessary. Get Google Fit from Google Play here.
There are a ton of bathroom scales that have a smartphone app component to them. It makes tracking your weight over time really handy, especially since all of that information is right at your fingertips.
We didn’t want to just choose one because there are a lot of options, so we’ll list a few popular ones you can research and consider for yourself:
The Withings scale is a Wi-Fi Scale that does a lot of really cool things:
- Body composition analysis
- Dedicated coaching program
- Up to 8 users can use it
There is also a baby & pregnancy mode if you have some younger folks who want to use, too (wink, wink!).
It’s really cool to zoom out and see your weight over time – dips and valleys included. While prices at Amazon can vary, this one sits right around $100.
2. QardioBase 2
This smart scale is on the pricier side, but it does boast one thing – it looks pretty cool. Its award-winning design features a solid base and a round shape. It claims to have a superior sensor system that gives you more accurate readings.
This scale measures your weight, BMI, and tracks changes in your body composition (muscle, fat, water, and bone).
The scale also replaces numbers with smileys, letting you focus on long-term progress and lasting results. While prices at Amazon can vary, this one sits right around $130.
The Eufy scale pairs with its corresponding EufyLife app. In the app, you’ll be able to see your comprehensive health insights.
This scale doesn’t differ from the other smart scale options in any way that we can tell, other than the fact that it's WAY cheaper. While prices at Amazon can vary, this one sits right around $30.
If you already have a Fitbit, it can be nice to have a corresponding smart scale. The Fitbit Aria scale tracks your weight, body fat %, BMI, and lean mass. It tracks your trends over time using really nice-looking charts and graphs.
This scale also recognizes up to 8 users, and the setup is really easy. You’ll see all of this information right in your Fitbit app.
While prices at Amazon can vary, this one sits right around $130.
The Garmin scale has all the same features as the others – Wi-Fi connected, measures your weight, BMI, body fat, etc – except it supports up to 16 users. While this is certainly an option, many reviewers complain about minor problems, such as the fact that the scale only stores one weight measurement per day or that the app isn’t the best.
While prices at Amazon can vary, this one sits right around $150.
It’s no secret that there are tons of options for smartphone apps and tools that help you lose weight and track fitness over 60 – take advantage of some and let us know how it goes!
That’s a wrap!
Our team of dedicated, licensed agents can help you as little or as much as you need. Whether it’s answering a few questions about Medicare or creating a comprehensive Medicare Planner with you, we are your Medicare Allies.